The grey trail going deep in the woods fascinates me. I can walk forever, even in circle, if the trail seems to get lost behind the tall trees. What I wouldn’t expect is to be in another country as I turn the corner and not to be announced beforehand. A situation I first met, staying at Rolduc monastery.

I don’t usually write about the places we’ve rented, but this time is an exception; since the monastery is a touristic objective itself. I’ve discovered the place by mistake, several months ago, searching for a place to stay near Maastricht. The Rolduc monastery is 900 years old and is the biggest monastery from Benelux, characteristic which is for sure confirmed during the guided tour which takes almost 2 hours. After the visit in Valkenburg we’ve taken the train to Kerkrade Centrum and from there we walked for around 3 km through the city center, following the West, approaching Germany. On Google Maps the monastery seemed kind of far, but, in fact, was awaiting, as a surprise, right after the biggest intersection from our way. The room was small and because we opted for the 2 stars ones, we had a shared bathroom. I cannot complain, the costs of renting it were small and we had breakfast included. After we left the backpacks in the room we’ve enjoyed the own brewed beer at the restaurant, in the first interior garden.

A little bit dizzy, kind of tired from all the road, I still wanted to make the trail around the monastery, which starts from the main gate, going down near a lake, occupied by young people. At the starting point there’s also the animals area, where small baby deer are trying to keep up with their parents at eating grass. As the trail deepens in the woods other lakes are coming to our right side. A true heaven for ducks, especially if kids are coming with bread to feed them. As you exit from the forest you enter a small neighborhood, with typical brick houses. And what a surprise it was to turn the corner and be in Germany already! I felt amused, seemed like hallucinating, so for several times I went back and forward, like stupid, not believing that there’s no sign. We’ve been before at the boarder, but each time there was a sign. So out of a blue we found ourselves in the town of Herzogenrath. The town was exactly as we expected: clean and empty. I think only one car passed at one point, but in the time we’ve spent there we couldn’t see not even a curious look at a window.

The next day we signed up for the guided tour of the monastery, which is on each Sunday at 10:30 and costs 6.5 euro. There was no wonder that we were the only non Dutch speaking, with age under 45, and Romanians. The tour was in Dutch, but it was more than good for us, since we had the chance to learn new words. We couldn’t miss the pleasant lady saying for more than 3 times something about the president of Romania, which will be awarded with Martin Buber plaque this year. The monastery reveals large corridors and beautiful rooms, especially the library, designed in rococo style. And, normally, there was also a church, a small one, but with beautiful paintings on the walls and even on the ceiling.

Oh, and how can I forget about the giant cat, full of love, craving for some human touch? Feel free to visit the Facebook page for the full size of the pictures.

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